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Reffing Hell

As anyone who has ever had to listen to psychotic dads screaming obscenities at the poor sap who happens to be refereeing their son's Sunday League match will testify, being a ref is definitely for the thick-skinned. So it should come as no surprise that 7,000 of men in black quit the reffing game every year because of abuse both on the pitch and the touchline, and the result of all this frothy-mouthed opprobrium is that in some areas of the country 20% of matches are played without a qualified ref.

The crisis is so bad that an FA busybody was moved to say in a press release that 'two and a half million people want to play more football, but we have a shortage of referees. We were very clearly told that having a qualified referee for every game played at grassroots level was the players' top priority.

'Set that against the 7,000 referees leaving the game every season, primarily because of the abuse, and it doesn't take a genius to see we have a major problem - which if allowed to continue could destroy the game in some parts of the country.'

So the next time you're annoyed that they've sent off your precious little angel Crusher again, bite your tongue.

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